As Christmas approaches, I’ll be highlighting books, and possibly other items, that will be of particular interest to Holmes aficionados. My first look is at Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls by Elizabeth Varadan.
Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls
Gift Target: Children, the Young at Heart
Children’s literature is a far trickier genre than it appears to be. As CS Lewis famously asserted, a book isn’t worth a child’s time if it isn’t worth an adult’s time.
Elizabeth Varadan has crafted a story that is certainly aimed at, and appropriate for, children, but I found myself getting pulled into Imogene’s world as well. Layers of Victorian charm and detail are present, but they are presented from a perspective of a smart and opinionated young girl. I’m reminded of two very different series: The American Girl Samantha books and the Flavia de Luce mysteries, the hit series by Alan Bradley.
Like the books starring Samantha, Imogene is educational without feeling overly preachy or digressing into tangents that would alienate middle-grade readers. Without necessarily realizing it, children will be introduced to Victorian family life, clothing, class system, and a myriad of other historical details woven organically into the tale.
The Flavia de Luce mysteries are darker tales aimed toward adults but starring a young girl with a distinctive voice. Imogene’s personality is equally vivid, and while her mystery stays in territory more appropriate for children, it is equally entertaining. Children benefit from reading about clever, self-actualized characters of their own age, and Imogene is an excellent female example.
Finally, Imogene would be a wonderful introduction for young readers into the world and character of Sherlock Holmes. Varadan presents him through her title character’s eyes, a tall detective who makes her “think of an exclamation point.” One of Holmes’s most humanizing characteristics in the Doyle canon is his affinity with children, and that his on display here, free of sentiment but with touching detail.
Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls is an entertaining and well-written story that will delight children–and the adults who gift it to them. Highly recommended.
Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls is available at Amazon.
A copy of this work was provided by the publisher. All opinions expressed are the reviewer’s own.
How to purchase my Sherlock Holmes novels:
(Book 1) The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.
(Book 2) The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.
(Book 3) The Detective The Woman and The Silent Hive is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide from Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle.